This Day in the Civil War

Monday, March 24, 1862
CONGRESS CONTEMPLATES COMPENSATION

Not all slaves lived in states now in the Confederacy. This was more than a little embarrassing, and downright infuriating to hard-core abolitionists. The US Congress today debated yet another plan to phase out slavery in Union territory, this time by compensation to owners. Abolitionist Wendell Phillips, giving a lecture against this notion in Cincinnati, was booed, hissed, and pelted with eggs. The audience then took to fighting amongst themselves, and Phillips was dragged offstage by his friends and taken away to safety.



Tuesday, March 24, 1863
ELLET EXTENDS ELLET’S ENDEAVORS

The fact that the Confederacy still held Vicksburg did not halt all Union usage of the river. Today Brig. Gen. Alfred W. Ellet gave orders to Col. C.R. Ellet (they were distant relatives) to take the ramships Lancaster and Switzerland past Vicksburg to help Farragut. The junior Ellet was ordered that if either ship was hit, the other was not to stop to help--it was vital that at least one ship get through.



Thursday, March 24, 1864
RAM REPORTED READY TO RUMBLE

Lt. Commander Flusser, US Navy, was not a happy man today. Intelligence reports were coming in from North Carolina indicating that the long-anticipated completion date had arrived early for the ramship CSS Albermarle. This formidable vessel featured a double layer of iron plating, instead of one as was usual in ironclads. The “torpedoes” (more like floating mines) were being pulled out of the river below Hamilton, N.C., to allow her to go to sea.



Friday, March 24 1865
GORDON GOING GETS GRIM

It was coming down to do-or-die time for the Confederacy. Gen. John B. Gordon was the point man--he got the assignment to lead the attack on the Federal right at Fort Stedman, near Petersburg. If Grant’s line was broken at this point it would threaten his supply lines to City Point, Va. Grant might then be forced to pull back to stronger but shorter lines, and this would take pressure off everybody. The attack was set for tomorrow.

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